The following guest opinion was submitted to Boise officials as testimony regarding the proposed zoning ordinance change.
Guess Opinion by
Boise currently allows between 15 to 45 dwelling units per acre, sometimes more, and under the proposed Zoning Code those numbers remain but, in some cases, unlimited density is allowed.
Contrast Boise with all five boroughs that comprise New York City – the most densely populated city in the nation.
According to the 2020 Census, New York City, overall, has approximately 19 dwelling units per acre. Boise’s currently allowed maximum density and proposed maximum density is at least twice that of New York City overall and about two thirds the density of Manhattan which has 63 units per acre.
After New York City, San Francisco is the second most densely populated city in the United States.
So why is Boise attempting to surpass both New York City and San Francisco in density? Do Boise residents really want to live in the most densely populated city in America? As a 45 plus year Boise resident, who grew up in Philadelphia proper, I don’t think so.
It is time to make both rational and realistic decisions about population density. 45 dwelling units per acre is neither rational nor realistic. The same goes for unlimited density. Perhaps 10 to 12 dwelling units per acre would be sufficient. Dwelling units per acre in that range are more than double the 2020 Census reported dwelling unit density for Boise and they are more than sufficient to support a transit system per St. Paul, MN Metropolitan Council guidelines.
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